Join Date: Feb 2006
Before we begin, I'd just like to say that if your PS2 is under warranty, get this taken care of by Sony. It's not worth voiding your warranty if you can survive without it for a week or so. If your PS2 can't read anything at all, cross your fingers and read on, but you may have a more serious issue than we can fix.
I am using a model SCPH-30001 Playstation 2, with a U serial number. Newer models have different heatsinks and even a different chip layout on the motherboard. Some instructions may vary or not apply for other models.
My apologies to modem users, but I'm going to throw in a lot of pictures. You'll find plenty of other PS2 repair guides, but most have blurry pictures, pictures taken from across the room, or none at all. My aim is to show you every little part you have to deal with, so there's no confusion. Remember, spare parts are not your friend!
We're only going to need a few tools for this. Grab your PS2, a normal-size Phillips and a flathead screwdriver, a small or jeweler's size Phillips screwdriver, a can of compressed air, and one each of (if you own any): a DVD, a PSone game, a silver PS2 game, and a blue PS2 game (namely Contra: Shattered Soldier). I've chosen Army of Darkness, Final Fantasy Tactics, GTA: Vice City, and Contra. To my knowledge, there is only a handful of blue games, so if you don't have one there's no need to worry.
During the repair of your Playstation 2, we'll be taking the device apart. Most of the supports will be taken out, so be careful you don't bend or break any of the connectors on the various ports or internally. We'll also be taking apart the loading tray. This includes a Class 1 laser, which can blind you. The easiest precaution is to make sure your PS2 is left off when the disc tray is open.
PS2, screwdrivers, pliers and a can of air (not shown)
Collect them all!
By the time you're through with this article, all of the above should work in your PS2, with the exception of the blue PS2 game. For some reason, Konami decided to find the only color the PS2 has a hard time dealing with and throwing one of the best games on it. Some people have never had a problem with this game, other people have never been able to load it. The best we're hoping for is that we can get it to load at least 10% of the time. More on that later.
To begin with, remove any add-ons you might have for your Playstation 2, like the Network Adaptor. They'll just get in the way. Flip the Playstation 2 upside down and remove all the rubber feet and square tabs. Get the edge of the flathead screwdriver or a knife underneath them to pop them out. I've circled them on the picture below — 4 rubber feet and 6 square tabs. There's a few you can leave on, but they might get in your way later.
Remove all 10 tabs
That wasn't so hard . . .
In the next step, we're going to take out the 10 screws under all these tabs. You'll need the Phillips head screwdriver for this part and you might want to mark where each one comes from. They're of two different lengths, so if you make a mistake putting them back there's only one other type of screw that might fit. Once the screws are all out, take the bottom cover off. Flip your Playstation 2 over again so it's right-side up. From back to front, peel up the cover and slide it forward, then lift it off. Be careful of the memory card, controller ports and the loading tray. Once you lift the cover free, you'll notice a ribbon connecting the power and open/close buttons to the chassis. Lay the cover down as best you can without putting any tension on this ribbon.
Lift the bottom off . . .
. . . turn it over . . .
. . . lay the top on its side . . .
. . . and remove the screws
The last piece to remove is the black lid over the loading tray. There's four very tiny plastic screws holding it in. They're circled in red in the picture above. This is where you'll need the jeweler's screwdriver. Remove all the screws and lift the lid off. Voila! Now we have access to all the guts!
Close, just one more step
Uh, that's not mine, I swear!
Expect to find some pretty disgusting things in here, such as this nasty hair sticking out of the fan! Grab a can of air and spray the heck out of the PS2. If you can't get your hands on a can of compressed air, just blow it out and pick anything big out with your fingers or tweezers. The hardware in here just about the same as your PC, so a little dust smudge isn't going to hurt anything, but free-floating dust bunnies or hair can get between your game and the lens, so be sure to get all that out of there.
These things are too much fun!
Don't tell my Wife I didn't vacuum
You're about two-thirds of the way done. Bring your Playstation 2 back over to your TV and plug it back in. It's time to test out all the games and find out what's wrong. You'll also need the black cover that goes above the loading tray, your games, and a dark felt-tip marker. The can of air can't hurt either.
After you plug the PS2 in, hit the eject button. Be careful, it's on the lid dangling by a cable. With the tray open, unplug the PS2. Now we have access to the lens and everything else underneath the tray. Spray it out with the can of air, but be careful not to spray the lens directly. Pick any hairs out in the general vicinity of the lens.
You can also use the master power switch on the back to turn the PS2 off
Finally, what we've been looking for
You'll notice there's a white disc behind the lens that is circled in yellow with a red mark on it. This is a gear that adjusts the level of the lens. Don't touch it! Grab your felt-tip marker and mark the original position. If you're looking at the unit from the front, the left edge of the gear will be touching a silver plate, about where that red line is. Put a little mark perpendicular to this. If all else fails, you can always go back to this spot and it won't be any worse off than before.
Turn the gear clockwise a little bit. You will notice the lens rising a bit, as every clockwise turn raises the lens. Once you reach a certain point, however, the lens will drop all the way to the bottom and start moving up again. Thankfully, Sony was sane and the range of movement is exactly one turn of the gear. This means you'll always be able to return the gear to its starting position. Turn the gear clockwise until you hear a click and see the lens drop to the bottom.
As a side note, this is where I depart from other repair FAQ's. They always suggest adjusting the lens from where you find it, but starting at the bottom seems to give you the best chance of finding the real sweet spot for the lens.
Plug just one controller into the front of your PS2. With the lens at the bottom position, put a game in the tray. Start with your PSone game. Place the black lid on top of the tray and lightly but firmly hold it down. Too hard and your game will click as it tries to spin, too light and the lid will fly off!
You can also leave a light paperweight on top of the lid
Plug your PS2 back in and turn it on. The tray should close. Let's turn on the TV and see if it works!
After the splash screen, hit X to open the browser. Now we get to wait and see whether it loads!
You've been seeing this all too often lately
With any luck, it will load at least one of your games. That's great, but we picked out four different titles for a reason! I tried them one-by-one in this order: PSone, DVD, Silver PS2, and Blue PS2. The Blue is the most difficult, so after you get your first successful load, you may want to start with it instead of a PSone game.
If at least one of your discs doesn't load, don't fret. Eject your disc and unplug the PS2 with the tray open. Take the black lid off and let's look at that gear again. Turn the gear clockwise four clicks — about 1/8th of a full turn. Pop the game in, put the lid back on, and try again. Repeat this until the games all show up in the browser window. Remember to turn the PS2 off between tries, as there's a class 1 laser in there.
Once you've got all your games showing up in the browser, try and load them. It's very possible that the PS2 will need some adjustments before it can play the games. Also, listen to the PS2. The lid is off so it will be much louder than normal, but grinding noises are still bad. This can occur if the lens is right up against the disc or if it's too far away — you'll have to listen to how your own PS2 behaves, each one is slightly different. Again, the blue games, like Contra, are the most difficult to get to work. If you get this far, you're doing great!
Contra: Shattered Soldier is
The most difficult game ever
Most likely to make you throw a controller
Most likely game to not work in a new PS2
All of the above
Once you find a good position, test the heck out of it. Load all the games and DVDs, make sure they all start. With your DVD, scan ahead a few chapters. Turn it off, use the bathroom, come back and make sure it still works. Just like with your computer, as soon as you put the case back on and the screws in, you're that much more likely to remember you find something failing because you didn't test it. Try and load a saved game, too, just be careful with the memory card slots. They're wide open now and it's easy to pop it in at an angle if you're not watching.
71 hours and still no explanation for the lack of noses
Now that you're sure that everything's working, time to put it back together. Eject the tray, take your game, and let it close this time before unplugging it. Bring the PS2 back to your workbench to finish it up.
Start putting the screws back in. The black lid is held down by the four small screws. Just like when you were holding it down with your hand, screw them in so they're applying light but firm pressure. If you tighten them all the way, it will push the disc down even more. After that's on, slide the top lid back on — careful about the ribbon and the ports again — and flip the Playstation 2 over. Put the bottom lid back on and then start with the screws. Here's a picture again so you know where the long ones go — they're the ones circled in red. Feet go on the four corners of the bottom section, regular tabs for the rest.
The long screws go in the red tabs, short ones everywhere else
Put your expansion devices back in place, hook the PS2 up to your TV and test it out again. If you're unlucky, you may have to crack the case again if something shifted. If need be, repeat the above steps until you get it right. Once you get it going, this should keep your PS2 playing all your favorite games for a long time coming.
I hope this FAQ has been helpful. With a bit of care and perhaps the occasional tweaking of its guts, you should be able to continue reminiscing on your favorite Playstation 2 games well after the PS5 is out and gone